• Unit 3: Religious, Intellectual, and Political Revolutions in the 1600s–1800s

    The 1600s and 1700s were a time of profound religious, intellectual, and political turmoil across the globe. In Europe, the Protestant Reformation, which challenged the religious and political power of the Catholic Church, led to the Thirty Years' War in the early 1600s. The Thirty Years' War devastated much of Central Europe and led to profound divisions between Catholic and Protestant political states. In Africa and Asia, Islam continued to spread southward and eastward through trade networks, population migrations, and the activities of missionaries.

    The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Church's declining religious and political power led to a period of great intellectual fervor across Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. Known as the Enlightenment, this period witnessed the development of intellectual movements promoting reason, democracy, political freedom, and rational inquiry. Enlightenment thinkers questioned civil authorities and developed new ideas about the relationship between a nation's governments and its people. These ideas gave rise to a period of political revolutions intended to overthrow monarchical rule and to install democratically elected governments in the late 1700s. The French Revolution in 1789 followed the American Revolution in 1776 and encouraged other revolutions throughout the Americas and parts of Europe.

    In this unit, we will examine the interaction between religious and political beliefs in the 1600s and 1700s and look at how these ideas reshaped political, economic, and social life throughout the world by the beginning of the 1800s. We will also look at how political revolutions in the Americas had a global impact on political institutions and reshaped networks of trade and commerce throughout the world.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.